Zambia's Scholarship Fund Founder and President
When Peggy came home from Zambia and announced she was going to write a book to raise money for a scholarship fund to put kids through school, her very logical husband, Scott, was a bit more than skeptical.
“You don’t know the first thing about writing a book. You need publishers, distributors, editors, money, money, money, not to mention you are the world’s worst speller. Peggy, you’re here in Podunk Utah, and Africa is, well, Africa. How are you, a mother of five, working at a greenhouse, just barely getting by, going to do work in Africa?”
Peggy Rogers, however, is a very determined woman with a very big heart, a lot of faith, and a very supportive husband. So, she did it! From the first book to the 6,000th scholarship, here we are 20 years later – a non-profit organization that offers scholarships for students to attend school; pays teachers yearly salaries; builds and maintains schools; builds, funds, and maintains an orphanage; provides solar panels,
lanterns and bicycles; and builds wells – whatever is needed, Zambia Scholarship Fund (meaning Peggy), gets it done.
The first book was the first test of her faith and drive. When things went wrong, she (or God, if you ask her) found a way. From finding an editor on the side of the road to learning how to run a printing press herself – the book’s printing company went under after she had invested her last hard-earned cent in printing the book – she was undaunted. She didn’t want a publisher to take most of the book’s profit, so she chose to self-publish in order for all the money to go directly to the people of Zambia. In an old station wagon that overheated on the way, she went to every bookstore she could find and sat, humiliated, at empty book signings to get her book into the stores. She poured her heart out to family and friends, clubs, churches and libraries. She sold out her first 3,000 copies the first year. Peggy was raising money from her books, but not nearly as fast as she wanted. There were ups and downs, but mostly downs. When Scott saw how demanding this whole thing had become, he asked her to promise that she’d be happy if she could send ten kids to college each year. She just smiled.
At a library promotion (she was telling her story everywhere by now), a man approached her and said he loved what she was doing. He suggested that she contact some philanthropists. She came home and looked up “philanthropists in Utah”; sent them her book; and got a few takers. But then they asked for her 501c3 number – what was that? – to prove she was a non-profit organization. She went into her local IRS
office and was told she needed a lawyer to help her set it up. She knew she didn’t have money for a lawyer, so she said a prayer and filled out the stack of forms to the best of her ability. Eventually she was able to get an IRS employee to work with her personally. They communicated back-and-forth for six months until she had formed a charity, a 501c3, of her own. She was elated and she took the non-profit title very seriously.
Peggy’s faith must have pulled some strings because a year after she began, she hit another roadblock. The cost to send ten students to the University of Zambia was far more than she had raised. It just so happened that Peggy’s daughter, Jenny, was sent to Zambia when she selected “sub-Saharan Africa” while joining the Peace Corps. Not only that, upon arriving in a small town in Northern Province, Jenny found a teachers’ college and entered the head office to find the headmaster reading Peggy’s book. Eventually, Mr. Kapembwa sent Peggy ten applications and she, in turn, sent him the money for her first ten students. The logistics of sending money and doing all the work in Zambia has never been as easy as that, though. Zambia’s Scholarship Fund became more than just scholarships. Many trips have been made since Peggy’s first visit, and every time she visits, she is compelled to do more. Picture Peggy following a whole semi-truck container loaded with books around the world through ports in places like Dar Es Salam, Tanzania. Picture a container of sewing machines, computers, and wheelchairs; another of industrial cooking equipment and teachers’ kits, chalk boards, and desks; and others of roofs, mattresses, food, and cafeteria benches; as well as a land cruiser which was driven across the border into Zambia – the list goes on and on.
How does she do it? It’s all about love – the love she has for the Zambian people which she has shared with others and through which she has gained an army of volunteers. Her love for the Zambian people is evident in her books and in her voice. There has never been a day when she hasn’t approached someone, either by email or in person, to connect people here with people there – and, she doesn’t make a dime. In fact, she pays the cost for promotional materials herself and lives in a humble home surrounded by family she loves and the gardens she loves to tend. She takes it literally: this non-profit is just that. In a “what’s in it for me world,” Peggy Rogers and the Zambia’s Scholarship Fund are shining examples of what it means to be truly charitable.
After accomplishing so great a task, Scott said, “I can’t believe it! You pulled this off. You made the whole thing happen.” Peggy just smiled, pointed upward, and said, “Not me, Him.”
Read about Peggy’s miracles and adventures in the books she has written:
Heart to Heart Worlds Apart is a tribute to friendship. Leaving the United States for the first time, Peggy will learn just what her life’s mission is when she embarks on a quest through the African continent to find the homeland of a friend.
Foreign Flowers is the story of an ambitious undertaking by people just like you and me. Transporting 20 tons of books to the heart of Africa is bound to be an adventure. Learn the value of determination and be inspired by one woman!
Anna’s Kitchen Table is a memoir and a tribute to all the people who make you and your family who you are. The people you invite to sit at you table and stay in your heart. Follow “Anna” as she travels the world and invites the world back home again!
I will never forget that tiny library; there was a line of students standing outside. I could see that the person at the front of the line was balancing a book with one hand and writing with the other. When he finished, he handed the book to the person behind him. Astonished I asked, “Don’t the students have their own books?” “Oh no Madame! There are not enough books. Books never leave the library.”
Wow! Ever Since first grade I was given a book for every subject, then every few years we got new books. Yet, these college students stood in line for hours. The thought of textbooks being more precious than gold made me undertake a quest to deliver twenty tons of textbooks to Zambia. Join me on this challenging journey and feel the African people bloom in your heart.
This is the story of the people who made my journey a success, the foreign flowers in a global bouquet.